Rep. Darrell Issa of California, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has found another target in the Obama administration’s policy agenda: energy. Late Monday, Issa released a scathing report accusing the White House of being complicit in driving up oil prices to push a move to alternative energy sources.
Among other things, the report — “Rising Energy Costs: An Intentional Result of Government Action” — accused the administration of restricting access to domestic energy sources, hindering “fracking” technology and hampering the economic recovery by proposing new taxes on the energy industry.
The report also says the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) coordinated with environmental groups to target energy producers with environmental concerns. According to the report, the Oversight Committee obtained an email between the EPA Texas regional director and an environmental advocate congratulating each other on progress in creating barriers to energy production from fossil fuels sources.
Issa’s report sought to highlight Obama’s history of pushing for alternative energy sources, noting a quote from the president’s 2008 campaign in which he said, “Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. … Coal-powered plants, you know, natural gas, you name it, whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money.”
Steven Chu, secretary of the Department of Energy, was not spared in the report, which targeted his past statement, “somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”
The 40-page report examines specific policy proposals aimed at supporting things like carbon-based energy reserves at the expense of oil and gas production. It includes the cap-and-trade proposals of the past, active promotion of “clean energy source” and the administration’s proposal to tax oil companies to subsidize clean energy technology.
In his FY2012 budget proposal, Obama did indeed request that the tax breaks for the oil production industry be repealed, totaling $60 billion over 10 years. The director of the Office of Management and Budget, Jack Lew, defended the repeals by tying them to the goal of producing more electric cars.
“In part, we pay for this by eliminating 12 tax breaks hat now go to oil, gas and coal companies,” said Lew.
“The most troubling things about outlandish statements made by key Obama administration officials about the need to raise energy costs is that when we examined the evidence, they appear to reflect the agenda they are pursuing,” said Issa in a statement. “These are obviously not the policies Americans want or support.”